May 25, 2017 Thursday: 6th Week of Easter
The light shining in darkness, part 2
Satan’s ploy with humanity, which has not changed from the Garden until today, is to bring us to question God’s intentions. He suggests that in dealing with us, God acts as self–interestedly as we do; that his commandments exist only to keep us under the divine thumb, subdued and servile. If he tells Adam not to eat of the tree, it is for the basest of reasons: God is afraid that you “will be like God …” (Gen 3:5). The God of Satan’s packaging is a miserly giver, changeable and untrustworthy, a master who gives only in order to get, only looking to exact our worship and servitude.
Once we start to question God’s intentions, though, once we doubt that he cares for our needs or listens to our prayer, what source of provision and protection is left to us beyond our own self-reliance? We are left with no other option than taking for ourselves whatever we lack, since God, or so we are convinced, is not looking out for anyone but himself.
Satan persuades us that we have no other choice but to take whatever we want, and by whatever means, regardless of the moral implications. The enemy leads us to sin, not so much because he enjoys its perversion, but in order to distance us from the Almighty. By separating Creator from creature, he keeps God’s love for us at bay, impeded from reaching us in the only way possible through our own free choice, and by our own hand. Satan’s appeal plays to the basest of our ego-drives. By stimulating our selfish and superficial desires, he hopes to drown out our deepest God-given and God-fulfilled longing. He offers us, in exchange for the deeper gifts God has promised, only excitation and distraction: fool’s gold, pacifiers, surrogates dangled before us like baubles. These are poor substitutes for the gift of divine love, impostors that deprive us of our true and lasting happiness in God.
By making an idol of the self, and by ego run amok through sin, we pay a steep price in loss of relationship with God, with others, and ultimately with ourselves. Rather than climbing the heights to rival the Creator, to “be like God” (Gen 3:5), as we have attempted from Eden to Babel and down through history, we end up not only not like God, but unlike ourselves living more basely than the animals beneath us. These are the new lows humanity has reached; this is the new poverty; these are the depths we have carved out for ourselves alone.
- Fr. Joseph Langford, MC
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